Too much paper?

paper shredderWe all have too much stuff.  It isn’t just stuff we buy. I sometimes work with people who have boxes of canceled checks and paper copies of bills with “paid” written on them. Paper bank statements and boxes of receipts too.

These days just about everything, including bills and bank statements are available online. They don’t even have to be printed but for people who feel the need to have copies, they can be downloaded and stored on a computer.

I can find bank statements from years ago online. I can’t imagine how or why I would ever need a paper copy. I haven’t balanced a checking account in 20 years or so. The pennies I might be missing are not worth the time it would take to find them. I can see the math online when I look at the running balance and it passes my “seems about right” test.

Don’t  keep warranty information and instruction manuals for appliances they no longer own.

There isn’t any rule that states that paper copies of tax returns have to be kept forever. The IRS says “3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.”

Many companies offer the opportunity to go paperless. Get an email alert or a text message when bills are due instead of paper statements.

Don’t forget to use the paper shredder before disposing of documents. When getting rid of large amounts of paper look for secure disposal boxes or shredding services. There are many options. Search online for document disposal close to home.

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